Guide to the Papers of Walter Chrysler, Jr., circa 1900 - 1990Manuscript MS-957

Biography

Walter P. Chrysler, Jr. (May 27, 1909 - Sep.17, 1988) Automobile executive and art collector. Born in Oelwein, Iowa he was the son of famed automobile executive, Walter P. Chrysler. Chrysler was a non-graduate of Dartmouth College, Class 1933. While studying at Dartmouth College, he founded 'Cheshire House', a publisher of fine books with Nelson A. Rockefeller - several winning "Best Book of the Year" awards from the Grolier Club. In 1934, Chrysler founded the Air-Temp division of the Chrysler Corporation, which developed the first air-conditioning system in an automobile. At the outbreak of World War II, he volunteered for service in the Navy and became a member of the third officer training class in Naval Avionics at Quonset Point, Long Island. In the public realm, Mr. Chrysler worked under Nelson Rockefeller as coordinator of Inter-American affairs in Washington, D.C., in 1940. Chrysler retired as President of the Chrysler automotive company in 1953.

Chrysler was heavily involved in the arts as a collector and benefactor. He was the first chairman of MoMa's Library committee and was involved in establishing that institution. In 1958 he founded the Chrysler Art Museum in Provincetown, Ma., relocating his collection to Norfolk, Virginia, in 1971. Many art critics consider him to have owned not only the largest, but also the most diverse collection of art in the world at that time. He lived between his homes in New York and Norfolk for the remaining decades of his life, during which he remained an active art collector as well as a patron of the arts. He died in Norfolk on September 17, 1988, from cancer.

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